View Full Version : Jingles for my sweet Harriet... Seeing some improvement!

Jul. 2, 2012, 01:12 PM
One of my Marans hens, Harriet, appears to be eggbound :( Her stomach is very swollen and the poor girl looks miserable. I soaked her belly in warm water this morning and put some vaseline on/in her vent in hopes of getting things moving. She's resting in a box in my quiet bedroom now while I'm at work, I'm hoping things will be better by the time I get home this afternoon. If not we're in for an evening of more soaking and vaseline. This is the first time I've had this happen so I'm very worried about her. If anyone has been through this and has suggestions let me know.

Jul. 2, 2012, 03:18 PM
Oh Harriet, Harriet.
Unless you can get things moving, well .... Lubricate finger with k-y jelly, insert in vent. With other hand push on hen's abdomen to force egg toward vent. If you can see the egg but it's too big to pass, puncture with needle and remove in pieces. Real careful like. Rinse cloaca with hydro perox.
Cloacal tissue may protrude so keep her seperate from others 'cause they'll cannibalize her. Isolate 'til muscle tone is back to normal.
This is according to the Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow. I sure like this old book.

Harriet, oh Harriet, it's the hens who have the best names, that die soonest.

Jul. 2, 2012, 03:20 PM
Aren't you supposed to soak her rear end in warm water for 30 minutes or more?

A vet probably can tell you what to do. Or someone who has had experience with eggbound hens.

And if you've got her in a chicken coop, isn't it better to let her out and have her run around some, hopefully helping to get the egg laid.

Jul. 2, 2012, 04:01 PM
Yes, the Vet is your best course.
Speaking from forty three years with chickens, the other hens will pick,peck,and eat, her prolapse in a dramatic, gross, fashion. It's not a nice way to die. I'd surely seperate Harriet from the rest of the girls.

Jul. 2, 2012, 04:01 PM
Thank you Leaf, hopefully she'll have passed the egg by the time I get home but if not it may be time to take more extreme measures.

I soaked her bum this morning before I left for work and lubed her up with vaseline (all I had). I also separated her and put her in a nest box in our bedroom where it's quiet and dark. Hopefully things will get moving. It's tough to concentrate on work at the moment, luckily my boyfriend gets home pretty early from work to check on her. Pony might get another day off tonight if she's not any better :(

Jul. 2, 2012, 04:53 PM
You do what you can. Sounds like you're doing all the best. I hate to say but can you euthanize if possible, if need be? Vet can. Can you or boyfriend wring a neck? Sorry. I'm glad she is seperated in a quiet nest box in your bedroom. Passing away in a comfy place, on your own, isn't the worst thing in the world.

Gail Damerow's books about chickens are really good.

C'mon Harriet! Hen Jingles

Jul. 2, 2012, 05:13 PM
We can do it if need be. We've processed some roosters, I will just hate to have to do it to one of my girls. I certainly won't let her suffer if it becomes apparent that hope is lost. Ugh, can't wait to get home and check on her!

Jul. 2, 2012, 09:26 PM
One of my hens was acting poorly a few days ago and when went my daughter and I went to catch the hen she jumped the bottom rail of the fence and the exertion caused her to bloop out a half rotten egg! :eek::dead::lol:

She's doing much better now...

They're pretty tough-I hope Harriet gets back in order soon!

Jul. 2, 2012, 09:43 PM
How's Harriet? Prayers and jingles

Jul. 2, 2012, 10:05 PM
She pooped a little in her make shift nest box but so far no egg. Belly is the same, possibly a little more swollen :( I soaked her again a little bit ago and now she's sitting over a steaming pot of water. Getting ready to see if I can feel the egg soon. Ugh, I feel just awful for her.

red squirrel ridge
Jul. 2, 2012, 10:42 PM
Try giving her calcium gluconate - you can get it at feed stores- its what they give to cows when they have milk fever (when they get hypocalcemic b/c there bodies are diverting all their calcium into the milk.) Without enough calcium muscles can't function properly and stress worsens this condition.
Just squirts some in her mouth and add some to her drinking water. Also let her sit on a hot water bottle in her nest box to keep her muscles relaxed.

We had on of our hens get egg bound last fall. The soaking did nothing. While sitting in the coop watching a chicken sit in a bucket I got to thinking about the similarities to milk fever... blah blah blah... I googled it and found something about using calcium gluconate on a finch raising website.

It was about 11pm when I did this so I crushed up some tums to give her in the mean time. The next am I picked up some cal gluc and gave her (1/2 cc by mouth?) and by the afternoon she had laid an egg and has been right ever since!

Hope this helps! There is a lot of info out there if you do a search. Most say not to bother with lube as the egg is so far up the pipes that it doesn't matter. And to only break an egg inside of a chicken as an absolute last resort as the broken pieces can do a lot of damage to her insides.

Jul. 2, 2012, 11:05 PM
Thank you Red Squirrel, I think I will try some Tums until tomorrow when I can get to the feed store. I felt around inside and out and unfortunately couldn't feel an egg. It has me worried that she is in fact an internal layer, rather than eggbound. I'm going to try and get some penicillin tomorrow so I'll pick up some calcium gluconate too and see if that helps anything. I'm starting to feel less hopeful but for now she doesn't seems to be in major pain, just uncomfortable so I will continue trying to help her.

red squirrel ridge
Jul. 2, 2012, 11:07 PM
If you add a little honey to her water that will help perk her up...

Derby Lyn Farms
Jul. 2, 2012, 11:10 PM
Jingles for your hen! As bad as a horse, who would have thought a chicken could have so many problems. Best wishes to her for the night.

red squirrel ridge
Jul. 2, 2012, 11:14 PM
Some links you may find helpful...




Zu Zu
Jul. 2, 2012, 11:19 PM
Jingles & AO for dear dear Harriet ~

Jul. 3, 2012, 08:46 AM
Jingles for the sweet Harriet!

Jul. 3, 2012, 10:59 AM
Quick update on Harriet... We're definitely not out of the woods but she seems comfortable enough this morning and she is alert. I'm almost positive that she's not eggbound, she's either an internal layer or picked up some other infection. Fortunately my other 13 chickens are fine. Her abdomen is still swollen but not getting worse as of this morning and it *might* be a tiny bit better. If she's an internal layer it's my understanding that there's not a whole lot I can do. I've continued to soak her and gave her TUMS last night and this morning to see if the added calcium will help her pass an egg (in case she is in fact eggbound). She's been drinking water as normal and eating scrambled eggs and mashed banana so that is a good thing I think. I'm going to grab a calcium supplement at the feed store tonight as well and I'm going to pick up some penicillin after work this afternoon and see if that helps. I have my horse on Adequan so I'm accustomed to giving injections, but it will be a bit interesting trying to do one on a chicken! I think I've got a handle on how and where to do it though, hopefully that will go ok.

I'm still holding out hope that she'll recover. She was never my favorite chicken but she's been so sweet through this whole thing she's definitely grown on me.

Jul. 3, 2012, 11:26 AM
Jingles dear Harriert!

Jul. 3, 2012, 01:44 PM
Glad harriet is hanging in there! I like the calcium idea, makes sense. I've experienced internal layers several times over the years. You're right, the outcome isn't good. According to a vet school poultry text that my vet friend gave me, surgery can be done to flush out the abdominal cavity, however it's not very successful. And really, who can pay for iffy surgery on a hen, even if you found a vet willing to try?

Does Harriet look like a penguin? Standing tall and straight, well, like a penguin? This has been my clue in the past. I've x-rayed such hens, and have seen egg material all in the abdomen. I chose euthanasia. Geez, aren't I bearer of good news? Sorry.
Continued Jingles.

Zu Zu
Jul. 3, 2012, 06:05 PM
Jingles & AO continue for Harriet ~

Jul. 4, 2012, 02:56 PM
Well, Harriet seems to be doing better... I gave her the first penicillin shot yesterday and the second one just now. She is very alert and even flew out of her box and the swelling, while still there, has noticeably improved and the skin there is no longer super red. I'm cautiously optimistic for a good outcome :sadsmile:

Jul. 4, 2012, 03:25 PM
I hope she recovers.

I found one of our old hens in a water bucket recently - it was so sad. She was about 9 years old....it's odd but we do get attached, and rather used to them being around!

Jul. 4, 2012, 05:58 PM
Happy day and continued improvement to Harriet. One of the best cared-for hens in the world.
Zu Zu had something to do with it. I swear she's in touch with a higher power with the jingles and A O's.
Just out feeding hens and gathering eggs, you don't suppose Harriet is just broody?

Jul. 5, 2012, 01:29 PM
Thanks guys! Harriet continues to improve! Swelling is down even more today - just about back to normal - and she is running around like nothing ever happened. Since she's doing well I put her outside with her sister and her boys so she can eat some grass and enjoy the sunshine. I will continue with the penicillin for the remaining two days and hopefully she will be in the clear.

Leaf - Funny enough, I actually have another hen who looks just like Harriet who IS broody and started sitting on the same day that Harriet came up sick. I had wondered if Harriet was broody at first but with the swelling and struggling to lay I decided something else was wrong. There were eggs in her hutch where I put her the first night before I realized there was something wrong and she sat on the opposite and of the hutch rather than on the eggs so that nixed my thought that she was broody. My other hen is still sitting though (she's been kind of a half a**ed broody in the past). I took away the original eggs that would have produced a bunch of mutt chickens and I put 5 Silkie eggs under her. I'm hoping she'll see this batch through and I'll be able to add to my Silkie flock!

Speaking of, we have a new addition to my chicken family as of yesterday! I went shopping with my friend who was getting her first chickens and I ended up with this little girl:


I think we're naming her Liberty since we got her on the 4th, Libby for short. She's 3 months old so hopefully she'll fluff out a little more and not turn out to be a boy :)

Overall it was a pretty happy 4th of July... Hopefully Harriet is back to normal with no more trouble ahead. I would really like to know what was going on with her but for now I'll just hope it doesn't return!

Zu Zu
Jul. 6, 2012, 09:17 AM
HEY HARRIET ! SO very glad to hear about your improvement !

Jingles & AO continue ~

* thank you for your kind words "leaf" made my day ~

Zu Zu
Jul. 7, 2012, 06:09 PM
Bumping for an update on dear Harriet ~

Jingles & AO continue ~

Jul. 8, 2012, 06:11 PM
O Harriet! Where for art thou, Harriet and are you feeling well??

Jul. 9, 2012, 12:45 PM
I'm happy to report that Harriet still seems to be doing well. She *may* have laid an egg yesterday but not positive as her sister lays very similarly colored eggs and I can't tell them apart. The swelling is staying at bay after having given the last injection a couple of days ago. She's been out playing with the other girls int he chicken yard all weekend and seems happy as a clam! Fingers crossed she stays healthy